Febrero 21, 2018

Turkish premier: 214 targets hit in Afrin operation

26 Enero 2018, 08:24 | Martinez Canez

Turkish soldiers move towards the Syrian border as part of Operation Olive Branch

Turkish soldiers move towards the Syrian border as part of Operation Olive Branch

Turkey is sending the United States "conflicting signals" about its operation against Kurdish forces in northwestern Syria, raising concerns in Washington that the offensive could backfire and empower either the Islamic State terror group, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, or both.

As well as the artillery and air strikes, Turkish ground troops and Ankara-backed Syrian rebels have punched over the border several kilometres into Syrian territory, according to state media.

The German government is facing calls to halt arms exports to Turkey after reports emerged that German-made Leopard tanks were being used in an offensive against the Kurdish YPG.

"We don't see the YPG as now the majority element (of the SDF)", the official said.

Turkish troops and allied Free Syrian Army fighters are now engaged in an offensive in Afrin, an area controlled by the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost importance" is being given to not harm any civilians.

The United Nations says the risk to the area's 324,000 civilians is high. Turkish drones were also carrying out attacks. Turkey considers the Kurdish YPG fighters as allies of Kurdish insurgents back home.

Binali Yildirim, prime minister of Turkey, elaborated in saying the country wanted a 19-mile-deep "safe zone" along its border with Syria.

Turkish-produced ammo weapons dominate Operation Olive Branch
Turkish premier: 214 targets hit in Afrin operation

Russia, a close ally of the Syrian regime, and Turkey agreed that Syria's territorial sovereignty should ultimately be respected.

The US and Turkey are North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies but they have diverging interests in the Syrian civil war.

Turkey will completely clear Manbij region, including all frontier areas from PYD/YPG which is Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist organization, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, APA reported citing NTV channel.

Turkey launched an operation targeting Kurdish fighters in Afrin on Saturday, opening new front lines in the seven-year Syrian civil war, just as ISIS fighters in the country have been all but defeated.

A high-level US delegation on Tuesday discussed a number of issues, including Syria, with Turkish officials, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

Nureddine Mehmud says Turkey fired on Qamishli and other towns along the Syrian-Turkish border on Tuesday, calling it a diversion from the main campaign by Turkey and allied Syrian militia forces to invade the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, along another part of the frontier.

But last week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said U.S. troops would stay in Syria on an open-ended basis to prevent the advance of President Bashar al-Assad's forces and reduce Iranian influence in Syria.

Turkey has repeatedly raised concerns over Washington's support for the YPG militias, with the USA promising to halt arms supplies to the Kurds. Some 25,000 pro-Turkey fighters have joined the offensive, rebel commander Maj Yasser Abdul Rahim told Reuters.

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